Welcome to Power of Parks, a podcast produced by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, where we share inspiring stories from people who have benefited from nature, parks and recreation. Episode 11 features Emily Briceno, Jemma Currie, and Marina Barto. They’re students who lead a group called Surface 71, a non-profit organization that helps keep our oceans and communities clean by raising awareness of plastic pollution, hosting and participating in cleanup events in parks and beaches, and working to get other students involved in their efforts.
The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and National Garden Clubs, Inc., Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. (FFGC) District X, and Plant America with Trees, together with more than 70 student volunteers from Latinos in Action, planted 27 native trees in John Prince Park on Saturday, January 18, in celebration of Florida Arbor Day.
The event was part of a national effort to encourage community engagement for the purpose of offsetting tree loss and promoting carbon sequestration in the atmosphere. $1,500 in native trees were donated by FFGC District X for the event; 60 trees were previously planted by local Boy Scout Troop 199 on January 4 in John Prince Park, which allowed the boys to earn badges and help promote environmental sustainability.
The event began with a small ceremony, followed by the tree planting at Custard Apple Trail.
A farm to table experience is coming to The Nest Eatery at Osprey Point Golf Course in Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park! Palm Beach County and Osprey Point Golf Course have dedicated a portion of land at the golf course to create an organic garden which all will be used at the restaurant. Going a step further, they are creating a composting initiative that all food waste will be composted and used to fertilize the garden for future vegetables.
Did you know that native lizards, Green Anoles, can change colors depending on their mood or temperature? Watch #pbcParks “Animal Encounters” to learn some more fun facts about these interesting animals!
In Audubon International’s BioBlitz, Southwinds Golf Course received the Community Engagement Award with a total of 271 participants. The key to their success was both a Lady’s Night Out and a Junior BioBlitz session that included crafting both animal masks and birdhouses along with the hunt for wildlife. The Southwinds clubhouse joined in by featuring a wildlife-themed drink menu throughout the week of the event. Park Ridge Golf Course came in second place for Community Engagement.
The award for Best Photograph went to Southwinds Golf Course, for their photograph of a Red Fox on the course. Sharon Painter, Southwinds’ General Manager, says, “We make it a priority to educate our golfers of all ages about the habitat our golf course provides to the diversity of species that call Southwinds Golf Course home.”
Now in its fifth year, this annual event, sponsored by the United States Golf Association (USGA), provides a unique opportunity for golf courses to engage their community members in activities designed to showcase and record the abundance of wildlife found on their course landscapes. Participating courses went above and beyond in their outreach and environmental stewardship efforts. Participants also competed for awards in Community Engagement, Biodiversity, and Best Photograph.
All five Palm Beach County golf courses are certified Audubon International courses, a distinction that is given to golf courses that employ environmental-friendly practices in maintaining their facilities.
Audubon International is a not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to creating sustainable environments in all the places people live, work and play. To meet this mission, the organization provides training, services, and a set of award-winning environmental education and certification programs for individuals, organizations, individual properties, recreation sites, and entire communities.
Southwinds Golf Course and Park Ridge Golf Course are operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. For more information on county-operated golf courses, visit www.pbcgolf.com.
On Thursday, April 11, Palm Beach County and scuba diving enthusiasts joined together for a celebration of marine life protection at Phil Foster Park under the Blue Heron Bridge in Riviera Beach.
“We were able to do this and preserve a really important part of Palm Beach County – the County has invested a lot here and we wanted to help them protect that and make this resource available for everybody,” said Dr. Thomas Reinert, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Regional Director.
The event celebrated recent changes by the FWC that prohibit the collection and possession of marine life fishery species (species collected and managed for the tropical aquarium trade) within Phil Foster Park and surrounding waters.
The changes will maintain high-quality snorkeling and diving opportunities and contribute to the conservation of species under the Blue Heron Bridge and at Phil Foster Park. The Blue Heron Bridge area is internationally recognized by scientists, scuba divers, underwater photographers, and snorkelers for its abundance of unique marine life and was named one of the 50 best dive sites in the world by PADI Sport Diver magazine and referred to as Florida’s “best shore dive” by SCUBA Diving Magazine.
Boynton Beach residents Jessica and Sandy Rowley are a mother-daughter duo, who, for the past 25 years, have made a habit out of cleaning up parks and natural areas around the area to ensure a cleaner, safer community. So naturally, when they heard about Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation’s Skip the Straw Day Beach Cleanup on the morning news, they immediately wanted to be a part of the effort.
“Every little bit helps, we come here all the time, might as well keep it clean,” said Jessica.
On the morning of February 22, roughly a dozen volunteers made their way to Ocean Inlet Park to help rid the popular beach of litter. It was held on National Skip the Straw Day, in an effort to bring attention to the issue of non-degradable litter often found on Palm Beach County beaches. The unofficial holiday encourages people to recognize the harmful effects of non-degradable plastic commonly known to contaminate the ocean and harm marine life.
Volunteers liked the Rowleys filled a 33-gallon trash bag with debris from the beach park. Every volunteer received a bag containing a t-shirt, water, snacks & environmental literature, and pickers, gloves and garbage bags were supplied.
For the mother-daughter team, the cleanup was important because it helps strengthen their appreciation for nature. “We love getting out in nature and enjoying everything and seeing all the animals… and it’s sad to see garbage everywhere,” said Jessica.
For more information about volunteering for the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, visit pbcparks.com.
The Florida Strangler Fig wraps its roots around host trees, widens, and forms larger roots that eventually take over its host tree. This unique tree is also the host plant for the Daggerwing Butterfly! Check out the latest episode of “What’s that Plant?” to learn more about the Florida Strangler Fig.
Did you know the poison of the invasive Bufo Toad (a.k.a. Cane Toad) can be fatal to small animals? Watch #pbcParks “Animal Encounters” and learn more interesting facts about the Bufo Toad, which can be found in and around PBC Parks.
Did you know the Virginia Opossum is the only native marsupial in North America? Watch #pbcParks “Animal Encounters” and learn some fun facts about the Virginia Opossum!
Visit Animal Ambassador, Lizzie the Virginia Opossum, at Daggerwing Nature Center — you may also spot some of the same species around the facility, boardwalk, and in other #pbcParks.